Microsoft and ePals to Bring Next-Generation Digital Learning Technologies

Microsoft Corp. and ePals Inc., a privately held education technology
company, today announced they have signed a strategic technical
collaboration agreement to develop and deliver communications,
collaboration and digital learning technologies to the global education
market. Under the agreement, ePals will offer Microsoft Live edu e-mail
and calendaring platform and other capabilities to millions of its
users, expanding ePals’ services with enterprise-grade collaboration
tools. In the future, ePals and Microsoft will work together to
incorporate Microsoft Office Web Apps, a Web-based version of the
Microsoft Office productivity suite, and features of Microsoft Office
SharePoint Online, Microsoft’s cloud-based collaboration solution.

"We chose to partner with Microsoft because it is clearly
committed to education and Live edu is a tried and tested reliable
solution that complements our market-leading capabilities," said Ed
Fish, president of ePals. "While the cornerstone of school-based
communication and collaboration systems must be the protection of user
identity and data and implementation of sophisticated policy management,
it is Web-based collaboration and assessment that can truly transform
learning globally. The powerful features and extensible platform
delivered by Live edu enhances ePals’ own platform and leading solutions
for the K-12 market."

ePals has built the world’s largest K-12 learning network, a
communications and collaboration platform linking 600,000 educators and
reaching more than 25 million teachers, students and parents in 200
countries and territories. ePals LearningSpace provides safe and secure
virtual workspaces for schools, including e-mail, blogs, wikis, shared
portfolios, media galleries and language translation in 35 languages.

Liveedu will bring additional capabilities to ePals’
SchoolMail and other products, delivering advanced communication and
collaboration capabilities to the solution, such as a familiar Outlook
interface across the PC, phone and browser, accessibility features,
cross-mailbox search, and dynamic distribution groups. From an IT
perspective, the solution will allow schools to set up sophisticated
policy-based controls that regulate which students and teachers can
e-mail and share information with each other for security purposes, and
what level of filtering and monitoring is desired for sent and received
e-mail, including for inappropriate language. Rules can also be applied
for instructional value as well, and help facilitate peer-based editing
and feedback features.

Liveedu is a no-cost suite of easy-to-use online services,
based on the familiar Microsoft technologies many people use today, that
enable access to information anytime, anywhere, from any desktop,
laptop, popular Web browsers or mobile device. More than 10,000 schools
in more than 130 countries have enrolled in Live edu, serving tens of
millions of students worldwide.

"We are committed to the cloud and evolving Live edu to meet
the emerging needs and high expectations of students and teachers that
technology should enable new experiences that advance their successes,"
said Anthony Salcito, vice president of Worldwide Education at
Microsoft. "Our investment in the relationship with ePals will enable us
to accelerate the impact our platform can have to teaching and learning
scenarios. Their expertise in K-12 education combined with Live@edu
safety, security, reliability and productivity features are a perfect
match for institutions looking to reduce operating costs while expanding
collaborative opportunities that are transforming education today."

ePals has relationships with many large school districts
worldwide and such organizations as National Geographic Society,
International Baccalaureate Organization, Cengage Learning Inc. and
Conservation International. International Baccalaureate is using ePals’
global platform to set up a virtual learning community for more than
794,000 students, educators and alumni in 138 countries.

In addition to providing technology to transform learning,
both Microsoft and ePals share a commitment to helping address the
digital divide. Microsoft Partners in Learning is a 10-year, nearly $500
million global initiative aimed at improving teaching and learning
experiences through information and communications technology with the
aim of helping students realize their greatest potential. In the past
seven years, the program has trained more than 7 million teachers and
reached more than 170 million students in 112 countries. Microsoft is
deeply committed to helping teachers and school leaders use technology
appropriately to achieve powerful results in every classroom by
partnering with governments, academic institutions and NGOs to achieve
both local and global impact.

With the support of the ePals Foundation, ePals offers its
award-winning In2Books program, a curriculum-based eMentoring solution
for students in grades 3 through 5 who are matched with adult pen pals.
The In2Books program helped participating children raise standardized
test scores and improve writing and critical thinking skills.


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